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MS Patients May Want to Avoid This Supplement

MS and resveratrol

Resveratrol is a plant chemical found mainly in red grapes, and some researchers have suggested this antioxidant provides heart benefits and a range of other health advantages. Results of a new study, however, indicate that individuals who have multiple sclerosis (MS) may want to avoid this supplement.

Resveratrol pros and cons

When you see consumer articles about resveratrol, the information is often illustrated along with a glass of red wine. That’s because this beverage is one of the most common food sources of this polyphenol, which is also present in some berries and peanuts.

Numerous studies have indicated that resveratrol has potent antioxidant abilities and can also fight inflammation, although not all research results agree. Some of the potential benefits of resveratrol include the following:

Although resveratrol has not been proven to be effective in any of these circumstances, overall the studies also have not demonstrated a downside to use of the supplement except to find that sometimes it does not appear to do anything special at all. However, in the case of patients with MS, resveratrol may be detrimental.

Resveratrol warning for MS patients
In a new study appearing in The American Journal of Pathology, a research team led by Dr. Ikuo Tsunoda, an assistant professor at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, found that resveratrol had a negative impact on models of MS in mice. The mice were fed a control diet or one that contained resveratrol.

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Twelve days into the study, the mice in both groups showed signs of disease, including paralysis of the tail and hind legs. Symptoms progressed and peaked by week 3 of the trial.

By week 5 of the study, the mice that had consumed the control diet had either recovered completely or experienced only mild paralysis. In the mice that had followed the resveratrol diet, however, symptoms had worsened and none of the animals had experienced remission.

Specifically, tests conducted on the spinal cords of the mice revealed that those that had consumed resveratrol had more inflammation and evidence of the disease than did the mice in the control group. Therefore the anti-inflammatory benefits seen in other studies did not appear to apply in this trial.

MS is an autoimmune disease in which the protective coating (myelin sheaths) on nerve cells becomes damaged or destroyed. The severity of an individual’s MS symptoms depends on how much damage has occurred and which nerves are affected.

Although resveratrol may provide health benefits for some people, individuals with MS may not be among them. Based on the findings of this latest study, Tsunoda warned that “resveratrol may have detrimental effects in some disease conditions and should be discouraged for supplemental use by MS patients pending further research.”

Sato F et al. Resveratrol exacerbates both autoimmune and viral models for multiple sclerosis. The American Journal of Pathology 2013 Nov; 183(5)

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